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This newspaper has long argued that items such as goodwill and brand values should be excluded from balance sheets as they are nebulous, cannot be accurately calculated and give a false value to companies. So, we argue, does valuing companies on "revenue" and artificial straight line depreciation saying that fixed assets and profit are the only true measures of a company's value to shareholders. Once again, it is reported by a market regulator, a company is "writing down" goodwill. It's time for a radical rethink on how companies, especially listed companies, are valued.

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First published in World Money Laundering Report - Volume 2, Number 9

The question of tax avoidance was addressed by international charity Oxfam which In November 2000, published a "policy paper" which made liberal use of the phrase "tax competition." The paper argues that the "Financing for Development agenda" has a number of issues that relate to the funding of sustainable economic growth in developing countries. It claims that "two specific areas…are hampering that process - tax competition and tax havens and debt and liquidity issues." The paper alleges that "globalisation of capital markets has greatly increased the scope for offshore activity" and that "the equivalent of one-third of total GDP is now held in financial havens."

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